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Hitler Assumes Control of Army (Real time + 70 years)
Microfiche-New York Times archives | 2/5/38 | Otto D. Tolischus

Posted on 02/05/2008 9:14:27 AM PST by Homer_J_Simpson

HITLER ASSUMES CONTROL OF ARMY;
RETIRES 15 GENERALS AND SHIFTS 25;
RIBBENTROP MADE FOREIGN MINISTER

AIDE TO RULE ARMY

Blomberg, Fritch Are Retired – Goering Is Made Marshal

PAPEN, OTHERS RECALLED

Neurath Heads Secret Foreign Affairs Board – Reichstag Summoned for Feb. 20

By OTTO D. TOLISCHUS
Wireless to THE NEW YORK TIMES

BERLIN, Feb 4.-The National Socialist Cabinet crisis that has been smoldering for a week behind walls of silence came to an end tonight when with a Napoleonic gesture Chancellor Adolf Hitler assumed personal charge both of the armed forces and the Third Reich’s foreign policy.

He reorganized both his Cabinet and the high army command along lines that not only further consolidate his own power but also make him the central authority for a military and economic mobilization of Germany analogous to the recent French example.

The principal changes involved in this reorganization are as follows:

I. In the Army Command

Both Field Marshal Werner von Blomberg, the War Minister, and Colonel General Werner von Fritsch, Commander in Chief of the army, are relieved of their posts on grounds of “ill health,” and, in the words of a decree issued tonight, Hitler assumes “personal and direct command over all the armed forces.”

This command will be exercised through a “supreme command of the armed forces,” headed by General Wilhelm Keitel, hitherto chief of the Wehrmachtsamt or administrative department in the War Ministry, who becomes the technical successor of Marshal von Blomberg, equal in rank to a Cabinet Minister and Hitler’s personal chief of staff.

He also takes over the War Ministry, and “in peace takes charge,” according to Hitler’s orders, “of the unitary preparations for national defense in all fields.”

Col. Gen. Walter von Brauchitsch, commander of the First Army Corps, is appointed Commander in Chief of the army, succeeding General von Fritsch.

Col. Gen. Hermann Goering, in his capacity as Commander in Chief of the air force, is promoted to field marshal, which puts him in rank above all the generals in the army and may or may not be compensation for his failure to get the War portfolio.

Hitler immediately ordered a complete shake-up of the foremost commanding generals, involving the retirement of seven army and six air force generals in addition to Marshal von Blomberg and General von Fritsch, new commands for twenty-two generals and eight colonels and the placing of three generals at the disposal of the supreme army command and the army’s Commander in Chief. The retirements include most of General von Fritsch’s liaison officers.

II. In the Cabinet

Baron Constantin von Neurath has been relieved of his post as Foreign Minister and Joachim von Ribbentrop, Ambassador to London, has been appointed his successor.

Simultaneously, however, Hitler has created a “Secret Cabinet Council” for the purpose, it is stated in the decree, of “advising him in the conduct of foreign policy,” and Baron von Neurath has been made its president, in which capacity he stays in the Cabinet.

The other members of the Council are Herr von Ribbentrop, Field Marshal Goering, Rudolf Hess, deputy leader of the Nazi party and Minister Without Porfolio; Dr. Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda; General von Brauchitsch, Admiral-General Erich Raeder, Naval Chief of Staff; General Keitel and Dr. Hans Heinrich Lammers, Minister Without Portfolio and Chief of the Reich Chancellery.

Walther Funk, it is officially announced, has assumed office as Economic Minister as of Feb. 1 and will be formally inducted by Marshal Goering as Commissioner for the Four-Year Plan next Tuesday.

Finally Franz von Papen, Ambassador to Vienna; Ulrich von Hassell, Ambassador to Rome, and Dr. Herbert von Dirksen, Ambassador to Tokyo, have been recalled from their posts. With Herr von Ribbentrop that means a change in four of the principal Ambassadorships. No successors for them have been announced thus far.

A Reichstag session has been called for Sunday, Feb. 20, at which, it may be assumed, Hitler will have these sweeping changes voted and explain their significance.

Thus the storm precipitated by Marshal von Blomberg’s unusual marriage and the challenge of it by the army generals that raised so many other latent issues and turned them into a test of power between the army and the National Socialist regime has found a solution that exceeds all prognostications.

At first glance it appears like a National Socialist victory, but there are also elements of compromise in it that make full appraisal of it difficult. The only thing clear is that in the face of conflicting interests Hitler, like Premier Mussolini of Italy, has taken personal charge of all important policies and that the National Socialist regime has become more of a one-man government than ever.

That this sweeping organization should not proceed without strain or stress is natural and explains the heated atmosphere in Berlin during the last week.

In fact, if rumors current tonight are to be credited, Germany has just escaped another purge that this time would have struck the army, and at least one high general is reported to have been under house arrest, although it is naturally impossible to verify this report and the official reason for his staying at home was given as a cold.

Soviet Struggle Recalled

Inescapably, the events of the last week recall the similar test of power between the ruling party and the army in Soviet Russia, except that in Germany there were no shots in the neck. And just how wide the door has been opened for the further infiltration of party influence into the armed forces and how far the Potsdam code is to be replaced by the National Socialist Weltenachauung [world philosophy] within them remain to be seen.

If Marshal Goering was rightly credited with the ambition of becoming War Minister, he has failed to attain it, and the same is true of General Walter von Reichenau, who was supposed to have been a candidate for chief of staff or commander-in-chief.

Despite the hastening of the shakeup among the commanding generals, which had not been expected until the Fall, and despite the fact that the reason for the retirement of some of them on such an occasion may suggest some obvious speculations, both General Keitel and General von Brauchitsch are soldiers of the old German tradition and so are the other officers named in the long list of appointments and transfers.

Included among the retired generals are General Lutz, commander of the new armored divisions, and General von Niebelschuetz, inspector of war schools. General von Reichenau, on the other hand, has been transferred from Munich, where he has been commander of the Seventh Army Corps, to be commander of the First Army Corps, succeeding General von Brauchitsch.

The Foreign Office Shake-Up

Perhaps the most intriguing reorganization, however, is that in the Foreign Office, and its significance ca be judged only by its future results.

The recall of the ambassadors in Vienna, Rome and Tokyo, viewed in the light of the visit of Sir Nevile Henderson, the British Ambassador, to London on a mission designed to continue the talks proposed by Viscount Halifax’s visit to Berlin, is taken in some circles here as a possible suggestion of a change in policy, although it would be premature to speculate on it.

Although the German public had gradually become aware that something was in the wind, nevertheless the sweeping nature of the reorganization took it completely by surprise. The first notice of it was served at 10 P. M. over the radio, which issued a call to all to stand by for an important announcement that finally came at midnight.

The morning newspapers will splash the news, of course, not only across their front pages but also on inside pages under the motto “All power to the Fuehrer.”

Chancellor Hitler addressed to the retiring army commanders letters of congratulation on their work. He wrote to Marshal von Blomberg:

Since the complete reconstruction of German sovereignty in military and territorial affairs in 1936 you have often asked me to relieve you of your duties, which placed a heavy burden on your health.

Now, after the fifth year of the re-creation of our nation and army, I will grant your repeated request. May you find in the period of care for your health lying before you the rest that you deserve more than any others.

For myself and the German nation I express to you in this hour our profound gratitude.

Letter to General von Fritsch

To General von Fritsch Hitler wrote:

For reasons of health you have found yourself forced to ask me to relieve you of your duties.

As your recent visit in the south has not had the hoped-for effect, I have decided to grant your request.

I take this occasion of your retirement from the active army to honor your great accomplishments in the cause of the reconstruction of the army and express my profound gratitude. Your name will be forever bound up with the re-creation and strengthening of the German Army in the period from March, 1935, to February, 1938.

To Baron von Neurath Hitler wrote:

On the occasion of the completion of the first half-decade of National Socialist Government you have requested me to allow you to retire.

I am not able to grant this request as I cannot spare your services even in view of your recent sixty-fifth birthday and fortieth anniversary of service. In the five years of our work together your counsel and your judgment have become a necessity for me.

When I therefore relieve you of your duties in the Reich Ministry for Foreign Affairs and appoint you president of the secret Cabinet Council, it is in order to have in future a counselor by my side at the highest point in the Reich.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: realtime; worldwarii
What the author of this article didn't say, because he had no way of knowning, was that this move paved the way for Hitler's planned war against the other European states. Three months earlier, Nov. 5, 1937, Hitler called his top subordinates - Blomberg, Fritsch, Raeder, Goering, and Neurath - together for a meeting at which he revealed his irrevocable intention to go to war. Blomberg and Fritsch saw a definate down-side to this plan. So a campaign began to get rid of the dissenters.

I guess the lesson we can take from this today is that we should know the personal views not only of the titular rulers of our adversaries, but also the top people around them.

1 posted on 02/05/2008 9:14:32 AM PST by Homer_J_Simpson
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To: Homer_J_Simpson
Isn’t it ironic that liberals and democrats don’t know that Nazi is slang for National Socialists?
2 posted on 02/05/2008 9:22:00 AM PST by 2banana (My common ground with terrorists - they want to die for islam and we want to kill them)
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To: fredhead; GOP_Party_Animal; Vaquero; r9etb; PzLdr; dfwgator; Paisan; From many - one.; ...

If there is enough interest I will build a “Real time + 70 years” ping list. Volume wise, it will probably be about a post a week. At least for a while. If you would like to be on this ping list let me know. Or not. I spend time reeling through microfiche at the local university library and copy articles that catch my fancy. Most of these are WWII or pre-WWII related. Others might just show something about popular culture or technology from 70 years ago. Why 70 years, you ask? Because I didn’t think about doing this 10 years ago when it would have been a nice round number. Before that I’m not sure Al Gore had invented the internet yet.


3 posted on 02/05/2008 9:33:16 AM PST by Homer_J_Simpson ("I知 not liking the way the 21st Century is shaping up logic wise." - AU72)
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To: Homer_J_Simpson

In other late news, February, (circa 44 BC): In Rome, Julius Caesar was named dictator perpetuus.


4 posted on 02/05/2008 9:37:07 AM PST by Bringbackthedraft
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To: Bringbackthedraft
Julius Caesar got stabbed in the back on the Ides of March.

Americans get stabbed in the back on the Ides of April.

5 posted on 02/05/2008 9:40:34 AM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: Homer_J_Simpson
Shortly afterward he required all to swear an oath to him personally instead of the one sworn to Germany. The causes for the rise of a maniac like Hitler were varied but one of the chief causes was the way in which World War I was concluded. Ludendorff and Scheer, were eager to carry on the fight as the last campaign on Verdun was successful in its early stages before bogging down...Hindenburg, IMO, was tired of war as was the rest of Germany. However, a better peace accord was certainly warranted than the one the nation got--basically shafted by Lloyd George and Clemenseau--and the nation's army was far from beaten and could have fought the allies to a standstill then gotten a much better settlement.

The lesson of Germany is that it could be mirrored here if the Democrats get their way and pull out of Iraq, leaving it to Al Qaeda (the new Third Richt).

6 posted on 02/05/2008 9:43:45 AM PST by meandog (Please pray for future President McCain--day minus 329 and counting! <b>Vote Mitt=Get Billary!))
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To: Homer_J_Simpson
Ah, Hitler. Now there was a fellow whose hands weren't tied by the silly restrictions of "PC" warfare....
7 posted on 02/05/2008 9:57:14 AM PST by r9etb
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To: meandog
The causes for the rise of a maniac like Hitler were varied but one of the chief causes was the way in which World War I was concluded.

That could have been overcome if France had the national will to oust Hitler when he remilitarized (barely) the Rhineland in 1936 or if France and Great Britain had taken action instead of exhausting all the diplomatic avenues when Hitler moved on Austria and Czechoslovakia. France could even have moved into western Germany after the invasion of Poland and beaten Hitler from the rear. What would have happened then? Who knows. Maybe the festering would have continued in Germany until Stalin made a preemptive strike to the west, launching a second world war.

8 posted on 02/05/2008 10:16:47 AM PST by Homer_J_Simpson ("I知 not liking the way the 21st Century is shaping up logic wise." - AU72)
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To: Homer_J_Simpson

Lest we forget.


9 posted on 02/05/2008 10:33:50 AM PST by Ciexyz
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To: meandog
The causes for the rise of a maniac like Hitler were varied but one of the chief causes was the way in which World War I was concluded.

That could have been overcome if France had the national will to oust Hitler when he remilitarized (barely) the Rhineland in 1936 or if France and Great Britain had taken action instead of exhausting all the diplomatic avenues when Hitler moved on Austria and Czechoslovakia. France could even have moved into western Germany after the invasion of Poland and beaten Hitler from the rear. What would have happened then? Who knows. Maybe the festering would have continued in Germany until Stalin made a preemptive strike to the west, launching a second world war.

10 posted on 02/05/2008 10:34:06 AM PST by Homer_J_Simpson ("I知 not liking the way the 21st Century is shaping up logic wise." - AU72)
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To: Homer_J_Simpson

Double post not my fault! This site is slooooow today.


11 posted on 02/05/2008 10:35:17 AM PST by Homer_J_Simpson ("I知 not liking the way the 21st Century is shaping up logic wise." - AU72)
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To: Homer_J_Simpson

please ping me (I think I am already on the list)


12 posted on 02/05/2008 10:40:20 AM PST by fredhead (Four cylinders, air cooled, horizontally opposed...the REAL VW.)
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To: Homer_J_Simpson

Please add me.
Thanks


13 posted on 02/05/2008 10:40:26 AM PST by investigateworld ( Abortion stops a beating heart.)
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To: fredhead

You are a charter member.


14 posted on 02/05/2008 10:41:48 AM PST by Homer_J_Simpson ("I知 not liking the way the 21st Century is shaping up logic wise." - AU72)
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To: Homer_J_Simpson

Count me in!


15 posted on 02/05/2008 10:41:49 AM PST by Poundstone
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To: Homer_J_Simpson

Very interesting. Thanks for posting this. It’s always interesting to see contemporary accounts of developments like this. Anyone interested in this particular period should read Wm.L. Shirer’s “Berlin Diary”. Sort of a chilling chronicle of the descent into disaster. Goes along very well with Speer’s “Inside the Third Reich”.

Now can someone explain to a casual observer what a “ping list” is? I never quite got that...


16 posted on 02/05/2008 10:46:27 AM PST by Mr. Dough (I'm all in favor of multiculturalism, especially if it involves funny accents!)
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To: Mr. Dough
Anyone interested in this particular period should read Wm.L. Shirer’s “Berlin Diary”.

I haven't read that yet. I got the idea for this project when I read Shirer's "Rise and Fall of the Third Reich." It is an imposing looking volume, but turns out to be a real page-turner. The appeasement of Hitler in 1936-39 can still get one's blood boiling. And it seems all too similiar to the rhetoric of the anti-war left today.

17 posted on 02/05/2008 10:56:01 AM PST by Homer_J_Simpson ("I知 not liking the way the 21st Century is shaping up logic wise." - AU72)
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To: Homer_J_Simpson

Can somebody post the picture of Hillary with the Hitler moustache, a.k.a. “Hitlery”?


18 posted on 02/05/2008 10:56:21 AM PST by Contra
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To: Homer_J_Simpson

Please add my name to the ping list.


19 posted on 02/05/2008 10:59:15 AM PST by kanawa (Don't go where you're looking, look where you're going.)
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To: Mr. Dough
A ping list is like a subscription. Whenever I post one of these real time + 70 years articles I will paste the saved list of interested parties into the address box.

I promise not to sell the ping list to any third party organization, commercial or otherwise.

20 posted on 02/05/2008 10:59:59 AM PST by Homer_J_Simpson ("I知 not liking the way the 21st Century is shaping up logic wise." - AU72)
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To: Homer_J_Simpson
Please add me to any potential ping list. I'm currently rereading Rise and Fall of the Third Reich for the umpteenth time - a fascinating period of history!
21 posted on 02/05/2008 11:01:40 AM PST by GodBlessRonaldReagan (Big dog, big dog, bow-wow-wow! We'll crush crime, now, now, now!)
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To: Homer_J_Simpson

Thanks! Count me in on the ping list, if you would be so kind.


22 posted on 02/05/2008 11:05:06 AM PST by Mr. Dough (I'm all in favor of multiculturalism, especially if it involves funny accents!)
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To: GodBlessRonaldReagan
You are on the list.

I'm currently rereading Rise and Fall of the Third Reich for the umpteenth time - a fascinating period of history!

The back story of the events described in the news article are covered in Chapter 10 of Rise and Fall.

23 posted on 02/05/2008 11:23:37 AM PST by Homer_J_Simpson ("I知 not liking the way the 21st Century is shaping up logic wise." - AU72)
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To: Homer_J_Simpson

Count me in.


24 posted on 02/05/2008 11:45:43 AM PST by MdPoke
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To: Homer_J_Simpson

Great post, great idea, excellent choice of timeframe. Please add me to your ping list.


25 posted on 02/05/2008 12:21:26 PM PST by TheSarce
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To: DeaconBenjamin

2/5/38


26 posted on 02/16/2008 8:55:27 AM PST by Homer_J_Simpson ("I知 not liking the way the 21st Century is shaping up logic wise." - AU72)
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